Stats show women’s suicide rate at highest in 10 years as Cameron’s cuts hit hard
A SHARP rise in suicides among women is a “devastating consequence” of cuts to mental health services, Labour charged yesterday.
New figures revealed that there were 1,181 female suicides in England in 2014 — a 14 per cent increase from the year before and the highest rate since 2005.
Men are still three times more likely to kill themselves, though there was a slight fall in the male suicide rate across Britain.
And the Office for National Statistics has published child suicide statistics for the first time — revealing that almost 100 kids aged 10 to 14 killed themselves in the last decade.
The figures come just days after charity Mind warned that mental health cuts were “leaving some services close to crisis point.”
Labour mental health spokeswoman Luciana Berger said: “These figures must act as a wake-up call for ministers.
“Ministers talk about making a mental health a priority but in reality they have presided over service cuts, staff shortages and widespread poor-quality care, with devastating consequences.
“It is particularly worrying that women’s suicide rates in England are now the highest they have been for a decade. Ministers must identify the reasons behind this drastic increase and take the urgent action needed to tackle it.”
The Papyrus charity, which focuses on suicides among children and young people, said the new figures for 10 to 14 year olds revealed a “national scandal.”
Its chief executive Ged Flynn told the Star that a large number of councils were “still struggling to get their act together” and had yet to develop a local plan for suicide prevention.
He said cuts to local authority funding could produce greater risk and a “cocktail for disaster.”
He said there was a “postcode lottery” for support services, but suicides could not be tackled by the authorities alone. It is society’s responsibility to change things by “simply talking to each other,” which could “stop it going around and being a silent killer,” he said.
“The more we can say this is everybody’s business, the pressure will be off those services which is increasingly under-resourced and overstretched.”
Mind campaigns chief Vicki Nash added: “NHS mental health services are under enormous pressure at the moment as funding cuts over recent years have come at a time of rising demand.”
The figures were published as campaigners across the country came together to mark Time to Talk day, encouraging those with mental health conditions to speak about their experiences and seek help.
Former footballer Clarke Carlisle called for a roll-out of first aid-style courses in mental health, revealing that he spent the build-up to Christmas in hospital a year after his own suicide attempt.
The Samaritans charity, which supports people in emotional distress and considering suicide, can be telephoned on 116 123.